Regional Conference “Creative Danube. Connectivity - the Key to Overcoming the Shrinkage”
The conference was organized by National Tourism Cluster "Bulgarian Guide" (NTC BG Guide, Bulgaria) in cooperation with New Bulgarian University, Department of Architecture (NBU, Bulgaria) and National Institute for Research and Development in Tourism (INCDT, Romania), with the support of the Municipalities of Vidin and Calafat. It focused on the development of opportunities at the Bulgarian and Romanian cities along the Danube River. The emphasis was on the building of cultural bridges between communities, the importance of creative industries, and the utilization of cultural and historical heritage as tools to overcome economic and social challenges.
The first day was conducted at the conference room of the Municipality of Vidin (Bulgaria), moderated by Mrs. Desislava Mincheva-Yordanova from National Tourism Cluster “Bulgarian Guide”. Mrs. Borislava Borisova – Deputy Mayor of Municipality of Vidin – welcomed the participants and as a host officially opened the Conference. "The Municipality of Vidin, as an associated partner of the DANUrB+ project, continues its support for the realization of its goals. I am glad that today I have the opportunity to open the Regional Conference and I am sure that it will provoke new ideas on how cities and regions located along the Danube and similar to Vidin can cooperate, find common paths for their development through innovative cultural and tourist products. All stakeholders from the Vidin and Calafat Municipalities have wonderful relationships and implement joint projects and cultural initiatives. And this is a successful bridge for cooperation, to attract more visitors to these regions, to establish both social and economic contacts”.
Participants and stakeholders were welcomed byMrs. Desislava Obretenova, Director of Directorate “Administrative control, regional development and state ownership” at the Regional Administration of Vidin who shared a gratulatory address on behalf of the Regional Governor of the Vidin Region. Mr. Bora Ovidiu from the Municipality of Calafat (Romania) also greeted the participants.
Desislava Mincheva-Yordanova, Chairperson of NTC BG Guide, presented briefly the DANUrB+ objectives and shared about one of the most important project initiatives – the DANUrB Quality Label, which is an important tool for local/regional development, community building, empowering of the local cultural identity, etc. by establishing good practices along the Danube River and held a brief workshop on the valorization of tangible and intangible heritage and initiatives.
After that began the inspiring presentations divided into two thematic sections - the Thematic Sections of the day - “Potential of the Creative Sector” and “Connective Boundaries. Physical and Spiritual Bridges”, moderated by Prof. Dr. Maria Shishmanova and Dr. Petar Petrov, from New Bulgarian University, Department of Architecture. Topics such as “The potential of the local cultural institutions (the case of Vidin”); “Valorization of creative sector in region Ulpia Escus – Novae”; “Caput Mundi - the metaverse connection”; “Restart4Danube”; “ROSEB - ROmania - SErbia - Bulgaria Initiative”, “International projects: connecting communities over boundaries”, etc. were presented.
The afternoon continued with the DANUrB+ sister’s project - Living Danube Limes. The local focus group was dedicated to the importance of the Roman heritage, its opportunities for sustainable protection and sustainable tourism development, co-moderated by Georgi Jordanov and Veselin Vasilev from National Tourism Cluster “Bulgarian Guide”. During the workshop on the visibility measures, the VR reconstructions, and the 3D model of Bononia/Vidin – the chosen pilot site for Bulgaria – were presented and some measures were discussed with the active involvement of representatives of the Regional Historical Museum of Vidin (associated partner) and local stakeholders.
The second day was hosted by the Museum of Art and Ethnography Calafat (Marincu Palace) and the opening was done by Mr. Dorel Mitulețu - Mayor of Calafat. “When we talk about the Danube River, about its advertising and promotion, we all want to take advantage of it. Whether it is river transport or tourism, everyone on both sides of the river should have the opportunity to benefit from projects like DANUrB+, which offer possibilities for development of a relevant settlement or shrinking city. We expect and welcome every such initiative with open arms”, he stated.
The interesting topics and discussions continued following the agenda. The presentations were centered around the three main Thematic Sections for the day - " Connective Tools", “Connective Common European Danube Heritage” and "Connecting People”, moderated by Dr. Petar Petrov (NBU), Mrs. Irina Colceru (INCDT), and Desislava Mincheva-Yordanova (NTC BG Guide). Topics focused on “Integrated territorial initiatives in regional, national and local policy - a tool for valorization of cultural heritage”; “Methods and tools in spatial planning for a common future of Danube values”; “Tourism the blue economy inter-connecting the European Danube heritage”; “Route-based Tourism as a Tool for Developing Common Heritage Destinations in Shrinking Areas”; etc.
An exhibition of architecture and urban planning students from the New Bulgarian University, Department of Architecture and the "Ion Mincu" University of Architecture and Urbanism dedicated to the International Danube Day, was announced at the beginning of the event. Their projects present original architectural and urban planning proposals for the integration and utilization of the Danube River in the shrinking Danube cities - Vidin, Belene, Silistra, Giurgiu, Calarasi, etc. It was firstly exposed at the premises of the Municipality of Vidin, then moved in front of the Art Gallery “Nikola Petrov” in the town center.
DANUrB+ project was launched in July 2020 to activate underused cultural heritage and resources on the peripheral and border regions along the Danube River. It is co-financed by the Interreg Danube Transnational Program 2014-2020. The expected result is to increase local development and international tourist attractiveness.
Project co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF and IPA).